That about sums up Shilo's agenda. Though we live in similar towns, we couldn't be more socially different.
He has a million friends, plays sports, gets pristine grades, and has a perpetually perfect life set out for himself. For his straight alias, at least.
Not a single soul in the state of Iowa knows that he's gay. Just one ginger girl in Nebraska. Me. 461.2 miles and 6.5 hours apart, and our friendship is simply indestructible.
I didn't forget about my other friend-- I could never just forget about her. She's pretty much all I think about and all I've been waiting to talk about.
Yes, this is very sappy and very gay, but I can't help it.
Her name is Peony and she's perfect and I love her and she's my girlfriend! Peony!! How am I supposed to get over that name?
! It's a perfect title for her-- the name of a puffy, voluminous, gorgeous flower. The fullness of the petals mimic her magnificent natural hair- a wonderfully curly, unruly afro.
Yes, nature mimics her. She's that lovely! Okay, enough gushing. I'm sorry. Not really. Anyway-
Peony and I met on Tumblr 3 years ago, when we were just starting high school. We were both loyal curators of aesthetically pleasing "grunge/pastel" blogs.
We've never met in person but we've seriously been through it all together. We shared grunge pictures, we shared horrible secrets, we shared love.
I'll save the rest for later- I'm being so sappy.
The sun starts to grill my pasty-white ginger skin and I finally sit up. Thinking really does take up a long time, especially when my classmates haven't been screaming for a while.
My head rushes from the heat and spots dapple my vision. I run my eyes to reveal empty lunch tables, leftover trash, and not a single soul in sight.
"Shit," I curse under my breath as I stumble to my feet. Pink Floyd time was interrupted by a brief review of my entire life story and a minor existential crisis, I'm sure Mr.
Brown will understand why I'm (God knows how many) minutes late to Trigonometry. Oh, yeah. Wonder how many times I'll get away with that one.
I sling my ragged black backpack over my shoulder and start to run across the field, which quickly turns into a jog. I can feel my thighs jiggle and chafe as I run. Goddamnit.
Running makes me feel like a jello. Unfortunately, burnt red jello, not blue. My skin is already screaming at me for daring to move at a fast pace so I slow to an uninspired walk.
If I'm already late, might as well be late, right?
The my mind races significantly faster than my body on the way to class, a constant repetition: "I hate this class, I hate this man, I hate this school, I hate the sun, I hate the grass, ect...
" I consider darting into the bathroom and make up some story about getting sick during lunch. No- I got my period.
I don't understand why male teachers are so uncomfortable by their students getting periods, but it truly is a one-way trip out of class. Too bad I've already used that excuse, twice.
As I approach the dreaded door to Brown's class, I can hear his bellowing, guttural voice rudely invade the air. The man is a bear, and no, not a furry, thick, masculine gay man type of bear.
He could've been a voice actor for a cartoon bear, which is ironic considering his massive bear-like stature.
He is at least 6'5, and has a huge stomach which hangs over the same belt with his same clothes with the same sad, bland colors every single day.
If his voice acting career failed,
he could've been one of those whacko Alaskan wilderness men who pulled in 300 pound fish and built their own houses which you had to take an airplane to even get too because the terrain is
just so rugged and manly. Like a BEAR! But luckily for Ogallala High School, he became our math teacher- and clearly by luckily I mean unluckily. It's more like a fucking curse.
Actually, I'd rather have some ancient Egyptian god send a killer locust curse than enter the door right in front of me. I wish an actual bear would maul me.
I wait until he's turned away from the door to make my grand entrance- and by grand entrance I mean that I slip in as gingerly possible and make an awkward sprint-jog to my seat.
My classmates roll their eyes, a greasy looking boy sitting behind me snorts and flashes a look at some pretty girl. She grins and shakes her head.
My face burns and I realize that the classroom is silent. Bear-Man towers over my desk.
He purses his bear lips and raises his bear eyebrows,
waiting for me to elaborate on my elaborately long excuse as to why I am approximately twenty-ish minutes late to his precious Pre-Calculus class.
I want to yodel... in fear.
"Robin," he grumbles, "do you care to share with the class why you seem to think being tardy to class multiple times a week is exceptional? Do you care to tell us?"
I really don't care to tell the class. I don't! Don't care for it one bit! Yet my palms start to sweat and I can feel the lasers of a million eyes pierce my already burnt skin. Pathetic.
"I-I, uh, um..." I grow silent and stare at my ratty shoes. God damnit.
If only I could just scream and yell and get up on my desk and tell Brown why Calculus is not beneficial to me and so therefore it does not matter if I am twenty minutes late to class.
In fact, I am so confident in this notion that if I were to experimentally never show up to class again and continue to live the remainder of my measly life,
it would have no effect on me whatsoever! Please, let me do it. Sacrifice my mathematical knowledge- it's for science.
That's another class I have to take, right? Science? Can that count as a math credit? No?
Well, I don't care!
You are a Bear-Man and I don't enjoy, nor benefit from, being taught a single textbook unit in twelve seconds then you use your big, manly bear voice to passively tell us that we are stupid.
So what if we're stupid! We know! We're just atoms! Mere carbon creatures plummeting through consciousness! Why can't we talk about that?
The possibility that nothing is real, the possibility that we are literally a simulation created by some higher intellectual being. THAT is important. THAT interests me.
If we talked about that, I'd be twenty minutes early to your goddamned Pre-Calculus class! But no- if I don't memorize the fucking quadratic equation, I'm an idiot, right?
I need more detention, right?!
But I say nothing. Societal expectations. School rules. The fact that I am not brave enough to live my truth- all withhold me from living my truth. Speaking my truth.
Mr. Brown shakes his bear-sized head and grunts as he makes his way to his desk to fill out a detention form.
The same pretty girl from before is laughing at me and I realize that my mouth is still open. Bright blue inside.
I wonder what would've happened if I said what I really meant.